This past weekend we celebrated Abby’s 18th birthday and graduation by having a Filipina Debut. Often wedding-scaled, our was much more laid back, representative of our families nature, and organized by Abby and Annie. Parents, aunties, and uncles were given direction and we followed. It was a great evening of community, food, and a few joyous tears.

There are a few traditional rituals. Both mom and dad got to dance with Abby, the court does a dance, and as part of the rose ceremony, 18 people give a rose to person and then say a few words. Here are my words to my daughter.

Happy 18th Abby AKA Crabby Snail, Junkyard Piglet, Stitch, Barnacle, and more! Not sure why I am doing this, because we all know that I will not make it without crying, but here we go.

On this day I want to share with you my gratitude for your life and my hopes for your future.

I am thankful for your Kind Soul — may you continue to see every creature as unique and deserving of notice, love, and dignity.

  • On the Pitch: continue to value your teammates as whole humans.
  • In the Classroom: continue to learn with a lens of human dignity.
  • In the World: continue to be a person who chooses to live kindness.

I am thankful for your Just Heart — May you continue to fight for equity and justice in the ways that are uniquely you.

  • On the Pitch: May your yellow cards be few, but when they come may they be earned with purpose.
  • In the Classroom: May you always be open to new ideas, but also challenge the ideas and teachings that have created the unjust systems of oppression.
  • In the World: In whatever you may do, may it be done with a heart of justice.

I am thankful for your Committed Mind — May you continue to be shaped by the minds of those who have come before you, but may you also have the courage to step into the unknown in order to discover and develop thinking beyond what is already known.

  • On the Pitch: People used to tell us that you were good 🙂 They talked of field vision and soccer IQ while we were on the sides just yelling “Get it!” Your commitment to learning the game and working hard is admirable and I will never doubt the possibilities of what you may accomplish on the pitch. Go Owls.
  • In the Classroom: The number of times we tried to make you cut school, take a break, or otherwise rest your mind are too many. We still hope for harmony for you, but we also know that your commitment to your learning will continue to set you apart.
  • In the World: I have no doubt that once a path becomes clear, you will be committed and be all in. As a variety of paths unfold before you, I hope you will give yourself a chance to breathe, reflect, and find commitments that feed your whole person.

My dear sweet Abigail — never forget from where you have come, and always seek to grow into who God hopes you to be.

We love you so very much and can’t wait to see how life will unfold before you.